This week in languages: November 24, 2017

by on November 25, 2017



Learn introductory Gwich’in with this free course by the University of Alaska, Fairbanks! Gwich’in is the indigenous language of the Gwich’in people and is spoken in Alaska and Canada’s Yukon and Northwest Territories.

The International Conference on Bilingualism: Language and Heritage at the Chinese University of Hong Kong will take place on 18–19 December 2017! Focusing on “research in bilingualism across the lifespan from infancy to early childhood and adulthood with a focus on the acquisition of Chinese”, the conference will explore the impact of heritage and language acquisition on this research. See their webpage for the full programme, list of speakers, and topics.

French prime minister Édouard Philippe has banned inclusive or gender-neutral language in official documents, to the dismay of women’s rights activists and to the relief of purists and the Académie Française. Despite this, though, the debate between these two camps in France seems unlikely to end any time soon, reports The Guardian.

Commentaries and Features

The Mashpee Wampanoag, said to be the first Native American tribe to have joined early European settlers to North America (pilgrims) for the first Thanksgiving meal, is looking to revive their language. The last speaker of Wopanaotooaok died 170 years ago, but over in Cape Cod in Massachusetts (originally masachoosut in Wampanoag) in the US, preschoolers are being taught in the language of their ancestors while 7 public school students are studying the language for credit, reports The Huffington Post. Philip Marcelo introduces some words that English borrowed from Wampanoag in this fascinating piece for AP News.

New words are not discovered every other day. And this is the reason that so much hype now surrounds the discovery of two new British English words for trainers, i.e. webs and trabs. The words are two of many contributions from the public to the British Library’s Evolving English Worldbank project. Over a thousand words and phrases were contributed, with gitty/jitty/jetty, mardy and nesh ranking high on the list of most frequent contributions. The word, nesh, is reported, in addition, to be the most frequent contribution from Generation X (37–51-year-olds), who rank above all the other generation groups in their number of contributions. Nope, new words are not indeed discovered every other day, but it does take everyday people to point them out!

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